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West Ridge - part C - Pony Express to Long John
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Handcracker Direct 

YDS: 5.10a French: 6a Ewbanks: 18 UIAA: VI+ ZA: 18 British: E1 5a

Type:  Trad, 5 pitches
Original:  YDS: 5.10a French: 6a Ewbanks: 18 UIAA: VI+ ZA: 18 British: E1 5a [details]
FA: Rossiter, Garber, Hare, Woodruff, Erickson, Wunsch, et al.
Page Views: 28,143
Submitted By: Michael Komarnitsky on Apr 2, 2001

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Unknown climber leading the crux pitch.

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  • Description 

    Rossiter calls this route "a near-classic," and for good reason. Consistent pitches, easy routefinding, and solid crack climbing is what this is all about. We had a smile after every pitch!

    P1: Scramble up to the chimney that is The Mail Ridge, and go slightly right. Start climbing here. Go up the short left facing dihedral created by a large triangular block. Gain the top of said block, and move right into another left-facing dihedral with a slight bulge. Move over and follow the crack up (crux of pitch) to the nice ledge. Try belaying a little to the left of where you end up on this ledge.

    P2: Attack the roof and follow the crack up the right-facing dihedral about 15 feet left of where the previous pitch left you. Follow up through a slot, and belay on an open face before you get to the large flake that continues on your path up the right side of the wall. 5.9.

    P3: Follow this flake up - and what fun! Super-positive, and nice and airy. Use your extra #3 here to protect, as it's a little blank. Rossiter suggests moving left halfway up this flake and continuing on the arete, but I think it's just as fun to follow the flake up and out. Belay anywhere you want on the great break ledge at the end of this flake. 5.7.

    P4: The crux pitch starts about 15 feet, 90 degrees to the left of the direction of travel you were maintaining as you finished the flake. It's a steep, slightly meandering hand crack that ends with a small roof, which you surmount by passing to the left and then stepping left once over to a great belay stance. Steep and sustained but with a number of good spots to place pro, this pitch is a blast! 5.10-.

    P5: Shoot up and slightly right, following the crack from the belay stance up to the summit and enjoy the view! Maybe 5.5.

    Pitches 2-3 and 4-5 are easily linked; many people find this better as a 3 pitch climb.


    Standard rack up to #3.5 Camalot, plus an extra #2 and #3 Camalot for crux fourth pitch is nice (or else creative use of tri-cams).


    From the summit, scramble down the notch. Work north & west, and walk all the way down to the trail, with one 4th class downclimb right above the ground. When in doubt, keep north - it's a good, well-worn path all the way. It is also possible to rappel Pony Express, but there's tons of loose rock and probably climbers below. Don't do it.

    Photos of Handcracker Direct Slideshow Add Photo
    Rock Climbing Photo: The crux pitch as seen from Long John's Wall. ...
    The crux pitch as seen from Long John's Wall. ...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Unknown 'Brad' leading the first pitch of Handcrac...
    Unknown 'Brad' leading the first pitch of Handcrac...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Unknown climber following the crux pitch.
    Unknown climber following the crux pitch.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Composite of two shots of Ben Mottinger leading th...
    Composite of two shots of Ben Mottinger leading th...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Jam3s and partner working their way up on the fina...
    Jam3s and partner working their way up on the fina...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Shane working the 5.9 start to the second pitch be...
    Shane working the 5.9 start to the second pitch be...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Nearing the end of the difficulties above the P2 c...
    Nearing the end of the difficulties above the P2 c...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Mike near the top of the hand crack pitch.
    Mike near the top of the hand crack pitch.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Handcracker direct crux pitch
    Handcracker direct crux pitch
    Rock Climbing Photo: First pitch after pulling out onto the arete.
    First pitch after pulling out onto the arete.
    Rock Climbing Photo: shane at the crux...
    shane at the crux...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Just above the crux on pitch two
    Just above the crux on pitch two
    Rock Climbing Photo: From the road--very dramatic and Edge-like.
    From the road--very dramatic and Edge-like.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Unknown 'Brad' a few moves further up the first pi...
    Unknown 'Brad' a few moves further up the first pi...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Step right out of the first corner onto a low angl...
    Step right out of the first corner onto a low angl...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Almost through the crux on pitch four
    Almost through the crux on pitch four
    Rock Climbing Photo: Shane starting the excellent first pitch
    Shane starting the excellent first pitch
    Rock Climbing Photo: Josh is traversing on pitch 1...
    Josh is traversing on pitch 1...
    Rock Climbing Photo: On the second pitch.
    On the second pitch.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Dave Holliday at the crux.
    Dave Holliday at the crux.
    Rock Climbing Photo: The scene of the fixed cam....
    The scene of the fixed cam....
    Rock Climbing Photo: Dave Holliday belays on the summit of Handcracker ...
    Dave Holliday belays on the summit of Handcracker ...
    Rock Climbing Photo: With your foot in the crack and an excellent right...
    With your foot in the crack and an excellent right...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Josh is at the crux (5.9-) of the first pitch
    Josh is at the crux (5.9-) of the first pitch

    Show All 25 Photos

    Only the first 24 are shown above.

    Comments on Handcracker Direct Add Comment
    Show which comments
    Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Aug 26, 2017
    By Ben Mottinger
    Founding Father
    Jan 1, 2001
    rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

    A #3 Camalot is a little too big for the handcrack on P4--several #2s are definitely preferable. Also, I just wanted to add that the pro for this climb is great--easy to place and well-protected at all the cruxes.
    By Ben F
    From: Benfield, Kolorado
    Jun 8, 2001

    We did this route today. Every pitch was good. I led the crux pitch (combined it with the last pitch) and really thought it was more like 5.9. Another good feature of this route was that no one else was on it, or even near it.
    By Anonymous Coward
    Jan 26, 2002

    Really a number two is a little small for the crux. What you need is a few number three friends. Right in between a 2 and 3 Camalot. Buena suerte
    By Michael Komarnitsky
    Founding Father
    From: Seattle, WA
    Sep 28, 2002

    I forgot how fun this route is! Pitches 2 and 3 can be linked comfortably with a 60, and probably still with a 50m rope. You might even be able to link 1, 2, and 3 with a 60m (belaying from ledge 40 feet off ground). Then, link 4 and 5 together; otherwise 5 is 40 feet of easy easy climbing after a 70 foot pitch.

    As for the crux 4th pitch (I know I submitted the route, but I just have to comment).... just plug the cams and GO - jam jam slot the foot, gain the undercling and then streeeetcchhhh up and left and you're done with a beautiful sequence. The holds are good, the gear is fine, don't dally around. Yeehaw!

    FWIW, after that you can traverse 5 feet right up clean and fun 5.7 unprotected face climbing to the top.
    By Ben Mottinger
    Founding Father
    Sep 29, 2002
    rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

    The route compared to Perversion or Green Spur seems similar--the last pitch was a lot easier the 2nd time around, but the start of the second pitch is still burly.
    By George Bell
    From: Boulder, CO
    Dec 11, 2002

    The first time I tried this route, we got confused after the second pitch (having left the guidebook on the ground as usual). If you go too far left at the top of p 2, you will end up doing the top of "The Mail Ridge" or "Lightning Bolt Crack" instead.
    By Scott Conner
    From: Lyons, CO
    Apr 8, 2003

    Great route with great pro. P1 seemed stiff for its grade. The start of P2 felt technically harder than the crux P4 for me (which is hand size dependent). Good advice to not dally as P4 gets steeper and steeper as you near the top.

    By M. Morley
    From: Sacramento, CA
    Apr 9, 2003

    Another bit of info to add to the "For What It's Worth" file: Pitch 1 and 2 combine nicely at roughly 160 ft.
    By David Hous
    From: Boulder, Colorado
    Apr 17, 2003
    rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

    All pitches are good and most are excellent. If done in four pitches they are all pretty short.

    I have to weigh in on the 5.10a/b side of the fence for a rating. Did Morning Thunder yesterday (5.9+) and found it significantly easier.
    By pete cogan
    May 17, 2003

    Re: the descent. From Rossiter: "downclimb ... north, down a steep gully to the sw" at which point you'll see a decent size tree with a sling/rope, rings ... You can reach the ground with double ropes from this tree. This way you avoid crossing the slab. Worked well.
    By Chris Fisher
    May 26, 2003
    rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

    Great route over all. Good pro and easy route finding to an airy summit.
    By Ron Olsen
    From: Boulder, CO
    May 26, 2003
    rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

    A great climb. I like to have 3 #2 Camalots for the fourth pitch. Stemming is the key to success here. On the descent, you can rappel with a single 60m rope from the tree mentioned in the comment aboveall the way to the rap station atop the first pitch of Pony Express. Another one-rope rap gets you to the ground.
    By steve dieckhoff
    May 27, 2003

    I agree that this is a classic, but would encourage people to descend via the 'walk-off' rather than rappel down over the ever-popular Pony Express. The walk-off angles down west from the notch. Other than some short easy down-climbing sections it is straightforward. Avoid anything that looks like a hanging scree slope.
    By tobias Nitschke
    From: CO
    Jun 15, 2003

    ...don't know about this "almost classic" stuff: it's a sure-nuff full-on classic in my book. All pitches are way good! There's a lost cam half-way up pitch 4-- wouldn't bother with it unless you just wanna add to your pump. The walk off to the north, as mentioned above, is straight-forward and probably quicker than messing with rappels.
    By Scott Conner
    From: Lyons, CO
    Jun 15, 2003

    Good advice to walk off instead of rap. This rappel is potential suicide or [homicide] as this is directly above one of the most popular areas on the West Ridge. There's a ton of loosely hanging plates and flakes all down the first rap and the 1st rappel tree is [sketchy] to get to.

    The cam Tobias mentions is a #3 Camalot. I worked on it for about 20 minutes today but it's well stuck and still there as of today (6/15/03). Kudos to whomever can un-stick it.
    By Shane Zentner
    From: Colorado
    Jun 16, 2003

    Good climb. I thought the crux was on the first pitch at the overhang. Every pitch is excellent and well protected.
    By Guy H.
    From: Fort Collins CO
    Oct 5, 2003
    rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

    You only need the #4 Friend for the 3rd pitch which is only 5.7. With a small runout on the 3rd pitch, you can also leave the #3 Camalot on the ground. A single set of Camalots to #2, with 2 #3 Friends was perfect for the crux pitch. I thought the rap from the tree was fairly clean. I would think that you would knock more rocks down by downclimbing.
    By David Conlin
    Feb 15, 2004
    rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

    Very nice route!

    We linked pitches 2&3, and 4&5, making it a nice 3-pitch routes with challenges on all pitches.

    I thought P1 was hard for 5.8, but I always seem to think that at the West Ridge. I had a harder time with the start of P2 than with P4, although I did not lead P4. P2 was reminiscent of Break on Through, although with bigger hand and foot holds.

    Would have been nice to have a larger cam, or two, on P3 to protect the flake (I left my 3.5 at the belay below). I ended up slinging some horns and running it out, which was kinda fun with all that exposure.

    P4 didn't seem to have any specific crux, it was just very sustained. Luckily my hands fit it well and maybe my downgrade is inappropriate on those grounds. For some reason, we didn't bring any #3 Camalots. Instead we skipped from #2 to #3.5 Friend. I don't know what we were thinking, getting on a climb called Handcracker with this gear. Anyway, Mike Flanagan led the crux pitch and had trouble with gear. #2 was too small, #3.5 (Friend) was too big. He had to get creative. Moral of the story--bring at least 1, if not 2, # 3 Camalots or, maybe as someone suggested above, #3 Friends.

    The stuck cam was gone as of yesterday.

    We forgot to glean descent beta from the book before leaving the ground. There is a rap sling on the tree to the right of the summit. We rapped the overhanging face below, then scrambled over to the rap descent for Long John, which was like 3 or 4 more raps, with lots of sketch loose rock, etc. NOT RECOMMENDED.
    By Matt Chan
    From: Boulder
    Apr 19, 2004

    We were almost killed by climbers who knocked a very large rock (read: torso-sized) off the descent via the tree rap to the anchor station at Pony Express. Please be careful when descending.
    By Michael Amato
    May 16, 2004

    Just climbed this route today. Climbed the fourth pitch without jamming, using only flakes, edges and stems, so if you're not into jamming it, don't despair, it's doable - use sharp holds and good body position. Descend CAREFULLY down gully and look for rap slings and rings on tree at right. Lower rope and rap to Pony Express rap station with much care, a lot of loose rock up there and a lot of climbers below... Fun route!
    By steve dieckhoff
    May 17, 2004

    PLEASE DON'T RAP DOWN ONTO PONY EXPRESS. A walk-off, with a short easy down-climbing section, begins in the notch to the west of the summit and angles west. It's faster, and safer for everyone, if you use this.
    By Stich
    From: Colorado Springs, Colorado
    Sep 8, 2004

    Scott Conner and I climbed this route a week or so ago. Great climb! He showed me the excellent walkoff that keeps you on the same side of the ridge and deposits you a bit uphill of your pack. It took us less than 15 minutes to descend. Highly recommended.
    By Warren Teissier
    Oct 19, 2004

    We climbed this last Sunday and I have to say it is a great climb. We did it in three pitches linking pitches 2-3 and pitches 4-5. This worked out perfect with a 60M rope.

    I felt pitch one was stout for 5.8.

    The crux of pitch two proved hard to protect if you are too short to stem to the good holds. The cracks eats gear but if you can't let go to place it, it's not much good. At 6ft I was able to stem just fine.

    The flake pitch we thought was wild! we had no large gear to protect so it proved to be pretty run out...

    And finally the crux 5.10 pitch is simply awesome. The best jamming crack I have found in Eldo.

    There is currently a fixed stopper at the top of the arching crack.

    By Ron Olsen
    From: Boulder, CO
    Oct 22, 2004
    rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

    Warren Teissier writes: "I felt pitch one was stout for 5.8." Scott Conner writes: "P1 seemed stiff for its grade."

    The 5.8 rating may have been true many years ago, but isn't now. In 1987, there used to be a breadbox-sized flake to the right of the crux hand crack; I pulled it off and took a short fall while leading the pitch. Without this flake, the move is a lot harder than 5.8; I'd call it solid 5.9+.

    I like to place a #2 Camalot or #3 Friend low in the short hand crack and get a left-hand jam above the piece.

    For me, this move is as hard (or harder) than the crux on pitch 4.
    By ?????
    Jan 26, 2005

    Does anyone know what the walk-off potential for this route is like if one goes EAST from the summit? Specifically, I like to link this up with the Yellow Spur sometime. Does that put you near the base of the Spur?
    By George Bell
    From: Boulder, CO
    Jan 27, 2005

    ?????? asks: Does that put you near the base of the Spur?

    Yes. You can easily link this route with the Yellow Spur.
    By Edward Jenner
    Apr 14, 2005
    rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

    And I just thought P1 was the most sandbagged 5.8 I'd ever climbed. I definitely got a bit of a surprise when I reached the difficult section.

    It's about the same level as the upper pitch though, so no real problems if you are a 5.10 climber, although my partner did fall on toprope! He probably wasn't expecting it either, since I didn't mention anything, but did make sure I wasn't belaying directly off my harness (as I do when I'm fairly confident my second won't fall).
    By Ernie Port
    From: Boulder, Colorado
    Jun 20, 2005
    rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

    Stellar route with all kinds of interesting moves, and is appropriately named. My first time on it. Agree with Ron and Warren, in that P1 has a stout jam out from under a bulge that is more like (9+), but is easy to protect well. The start of P2 got my attention...launched up and stemmed out right to a big edge to start the business...this crack takes ~1" pro. Combining 2 & 3, we worked the outside edges of the giant flakes, lots of fun here...the #4 cam is nice to have at this point, but the climbing is moderate thru there and can get by without it.As Ron mentioned, save two #2 Camalots for the business on the upper P4 crack. Trying to place #3s that didn't quite fit pumped me out at that crux...not a place to fiddle with gear. Didn't feel a lot of exposure on this route, as your climbing off roomy ledges...felt most at start of P2. Worthy of time & effort... got to do this one again.
    By Danny Inman
    From: Arvada
    Mar 6, 2006

    This route is not to be missed. Lots of crack climbing of all different sizes. Regarding the descent: the first tree with rap slings is very sketchy to get to and there are huge loose boulders all over the place-don't go there. Instead if one continues another 100' to the west there is a much bigger tree with rap anchors on it. One double rope rap will put you on the ground just west of the Pony Express area. Rapping from this tree is a good idea because you stay high thus avoiding most of the really loose stuff, the tree is bigger, and it is not directly above the most popular area of the West Ridge. Also, when I was down-climbing off the summit it looked like it would be very easy to get to the Redgarden trail from there. Has anyone done this? Just wondering.
    By Rob Kepley
    From: Westminster,CO
    Sep 24, 2006
    rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

    What a classic climb! I can't believe I've been climbing at Eldo for 10+ years and have never done this one. Wow, I was missing out. The 4th pitch is outstanding. One of the top 5 pitches in Eldo in my book.
    By Dpurf
    From: Superior
    Nov 23, 2006
    rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

    Just did this route for the first time on Nov 22 2006. What a great climbing, and we missed the 2nd pitch, and it was still great. There was 3 of us, and all of us thought the crux pitch was easier than the crux of the 1st pitch. But we all love crack climbing. If your crack skill are up to date, then the 4th is no issue. I do have to say that # 3 WC Friends are the way to go on the 4th. BD #3 are too big for the crack and BD #2 are too small. Oh and you should link the 4th and 5th pitch together. Not sure about the 2nd and 3rd, because we missed the 2nd. As for the descent, from the top of the climb, down climb to the notch on the north. Once in the notch, you will see the gully. Start to go into the gully but keep to the rock face on the right. Keep to the right and head north. It is a very simple downclimb that will take you to the path. It is faster than the raps and easier to find. Plus, it is a hell of a lot safer for you and the people below. The gully is full of loose rock.
    By M. Morley
    From: Sacramento, CA
    Mar 10, 2007

    IMO, this is best done as a 3-pitch outing:

    P1: 80'
    P2 (P2 & P3 combined): 120'
    P3 (P4 & P5 combined): 100'
    By Billy Danger
    From: Asheville, NC
    Mar 12, 2007

    Fun route. After doing the route in 4 pitches (only linking 4&5) I would agree that doing it in 3 by linking 2&3, and 4&5 would be the way to go. You can also add a harder 1st pitch that goes at 10b/c called Chick on the Side. It spanked me pretty hard, but it pops you out on the ledge that Handcracker starts on.
    By DavidHH
    From: Parker, Colorado
    Sep 10, 2007
    rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

    Probably should have read these comments BEFORE climbing this route. As I up climbed and down climbed the P1 bulge several times wondering why I couldn't figure it out since it's only 5.8. My partner said he found a hold out right (which I never found), while I slotted the crack with my left, stood up and made a fairly dynamic move to the jug at the lip, not recommended. Look right, or so my partner tells me. Stellar route!
    By darin
    Oct 5, 2007

    We climbed this stellar route last weekend. I'd like to repeat all of the previous posts. I found the roof on P2 to be stiffer than P4. Pitch 4 is sustained, but I'm only 5'6" (on a good day) and I had no problem reaching up to the jug on P4.
    However, we blew it on the descent and headed down the looseness to the rap station, spilling scree on a party below (so sorry guys). It's a sketchy descent and I would certainly take the walk off next time, now that I know it exists.
    By Merlin
    From: Grand Junction
    Apr 28, 2008
    rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

    For me, the cruxes were getting into the crack on pitch one and getting through the corner on pitch 2. The supposed crux itch seemed easy in comparison but it also made the climb. Fantastic stems, foot stacks, hand jams, and a fun lieback up to a jug made the last pitch a real classic crack for Eldo. It was much more fun than the crack on Blind Faith.
    By max seigal
    From: boulder
    Jul 12, 2008

    The 10a pitch is by far one of the best of its grade in Eldo.
    From: Boulder, CO
    Sep 3, 2008

    Love this climb. It's a must do, and there isn't a pitch I wouldn't do again in a heart beat.
    By Shawn Mitchell
    From: Broomfield
    Sep 7, 2008

    Wonderful route. Varied, interesting moves. Good pro. BETA WARNING.

    I led first pitch and thought the bulge was maybe 8+. Key was decent left fingers (undercling or lieback an edge in crack? don't remember) move right foot up, and reach up and right for good edge with right hand.

    Pitch 2 corner was a finger lieback low and tight hands above, made easier with decent stems. On linked pitch 3, I thought there were lots of dicey flakes and was glad I wasn't leading while deciding what to trust.

    Crux pitch: what perfect, easy jams for biggish hands! But I kept getting decent stems and plugging too much gear because I didn't know if there would be more stances. (There are). When I reached the top roof, I was pumped and hung before cranking the good hand edges--not quite jugs. :) Damn. Next time!

    So I thought the ratings were right: 8+, 9, 10a, and the crux was the crux because the pump snuck up on me.

    Agree 3 pitches is best: 1, 2&3, and 4&5.

    Strongly agree it's best to walk all the way off. Per Rossiter's book, we worked down to the notch, never saw an obvious rappel, but kept following the distinct path west, past a couple down climbs, easily to the trail. Don't know why anyone would hang on a rope instead.
    By Paul Hunnicutt
    From: Boulder, CO
    Oct 5, 2008
    rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

    I'm giving this a 5.10a rating, but not for the crux on P4, but on felt hard. Maybe it is just 5.9+, but felt way harder than the upper crux. If you can hand jam well then the upper section will feel relatively straightforward, if not I can see it feeling 5.10.

    I think 2 #2 Camalots are sufficient, though I also placed a #3 somewhere. You don't need Friends, Camalots fit just fine. Great jamming, but too bad that section isn't a full rope length...then it would be classic!
    By Brett Merlin
    From: Boulder, CO
    May 19, 2009

    Did anyone happen to find a #1 Camalot with yellow and white tape on it? I may have left it at the top belay. Thanks!
    By k. riemondy
    From: Boulder, Co
    Aug 3, 2009

    There are currently 3 stuck cams near the crux, all within a few feet of one another. 1 green Alien, 1 old #3 Camalot, and an older #3 sized cam that I didn't recognize. Crafty cleaners could probably get the #3 Camalot and green Alien.
    By Elijah Flenner
    Oct 19, 2009

    There is an OLD #3 Camalot (dual stem) and a green Alien stuck right before the crux on pitch 4. The Camalot is pretty stuck and it looks like many people have tried to remove the Alien. A #2 Camalot will fit well above the old stuck #3.
    By Guy H.
    From: Fort Collins CO
    Feb 28, 2010
    rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

    The crux pitch is basically a sport pitch now. There are 4 pieces of fixed gear. The old #3 has been replaced by a brand new #3 Camalot. It should come out with a little work.

    Leave the #3 Camalots on the ground, and bring #3 Friends instead.
    By Buster Jesik
    From: Allenspark, CO
    Apr 6, 2010

    Can easily be done in 3 pitches with a 60m. Linking 2 and 3 by going left avoiding the big flake and up an easy runout arete is a nice variation that keeps the rope in a straight line.
    By James Aikman
    From: Boulder, CO
    Apr 9, 2010

    THIS CRACK GOBBLES UP #3 CAMALOTS! There are now two fixed #3s on the crux pitch of this climb. I was up there yesterday (april 8, 2010) and had to bail on a hopelessly overcammed #3 - I know booty is booty, but if anyone feels a random act of kindness coming on, the lower, shinier #3 on this pitch wants to come back to its master...
    By slim
    Apr 10, 2010
    rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

    You mean 'apprentice', don't you(?)
    By Top Rope Hero
    From: Was Estes Park, now homeless
    Apr 29, 2010
    rating: 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

    No. He meant, "boy."

    And whatever become of that shiney new pro, we'll none of us know. As of 4.28.10, there was but one hideously over-cammed #3 Camalot in the magic hand crack on P4--and it was one tired, decrepit unit. Skip it for full effect.

    As others suggest, bring 2 #2s and place high, place judiciously. With some tape on your hands and perhaps a bit of surgical back-cleaning (or just bumping those 2s up a bit), the initiate 5.10 climber could do no wrong. Rest up. Be ready to jam. And the jugs will appear soon enough, young leader.

    OH! And Mike Morely has the pitch count perfect:

    P1: 80'
    P2 (P2 & P3 combined): 120'
    P3 (P4 & P5 combined): 100'

    Lastly, don't avoid the P3 gruntfest up the fabulous flake. Protection is limited, inventive--but the exposed 5.8 juggy madness is a dream pitch and goes easily with the big of heart but without the big gear.
    By Arch Richardson
    Sep 21, 2010
    rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

    I did not find any 10a moves on this climb (but lots of 9). I had a good pump going in several locations, though. If you place gear efficiently on p4 it is not too hard. A very enjoyable climb with comfy belay ledges and excellent pro.
    By Claire Rose
    From: Boulder, CO
    Jul 1, 2012

    Attempted this on my 5th time climbing. Belayed after pitch 3. Challenging for me at this stage but highly enjoyable.
    By Gregger Man
    From: Broomfield, CO
    Nov 3, 2012

    I cleaned the upper #3 Camalot today (it now looks like an aluminum dumpling).
    The lower one was elbow deep, but I managed to get it to near the lip. Someone with smaller hands needs to walk it sideways about 3 feet up the crack to remove it.
    By Ross Philip
    From: Boulder, Colorado
    Aug 30, 2013

    Reading the comments, I got all worked up worrying about if I needed triples or if I needed something between a BD #2 and #3. In actual fact, on the crux pitch, 1 green, 1 red, 2 gold Camalots sewed up the crack. One small purple Camalot up and right of the undercling made the exit left super safe.
    Great climb!
    By Chrissy Crushes
    From: Boulder, CO
    Aug 16, 2014
    rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

    Just wanted to add my two cents...this climb was awesome! Did it as 3 pitches which was super fun. First 5.10 lead/onsight in Eldo! All the gear beta had me a little worried, so I brought three #2s and two #3s... and sewed it up... (I placed the third #2 up high on 5.5 pitch but easily could of placed other gear the 3rd was really not necessary...). Two fixed #3s on P4 still (clipped the first one) as well as a fixed nut right in the crux area....

    In my opinion...I'd say: 5.9-, 5.9, 5.7 (or 5.8?), 5.10a, and 5.5....walk-off was cake to find and pretty quick. I <3 <3 Eldo. If you're interested, get on it!
    By michalm
    From: Boulder, CO
    Nov 10, 2014
    rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

    Linked pitches 1-3. Didn't place much pro and didn't have much rope drag. P1 didn't feel cruxy, but P2 required a bit of thought pulling into the bulge. P3 was fun and cruiser.
    Friend with minimal trad experience led 4-5 onsight.
    To be honest, pitches 1, 2, and 4 all felt 5.9.
    Also, I though P2 was the most challenging, and my friend thought P1 was the most challenging. Perhaps P1 is height-dependent.
    Finally, the handcrack on P4 is a bit wide for C4 #2s near the top. Friends #3 should be perfect. My friend found a place for a smaller cam up higher if you are worried about your tipped out cam, but it is pumpy to place, and the next two moves are not very difficult.
    By Henry AB
    May 4, 2015

    We climbed the first two pitches in late afternoon and were able to use a 70m single rap to get back to the ground. Someday I will have to go back with enough time to do the whole climb!
    By Fehim Hasecic
    From: Boulder, CO
    Jun 13, 2015
    rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

    Did this today. I led the money pitch, it eats BD #2s, I almost got my BD #3 stuck, had to karate chop it out of the crack, luckily it worked. Great route!
    By Scheid
    From: Vail, CO
    Nov 6, 2015

    Climbed it on 11/1/15, and it was nice and sunny but super windy. On the 4th pitch, we could feel a cold wind coming through the crack. It would appear that the crack on Mail Ridge goes all the way through to Handcracker Direct. The cold breeze coming out of the crack was a little eerie, but the crack is phenomenal!

    I think the 1st pitch was harder than the 4th. That bulge is funky and felt a bit harder than the reach after the hand crack on P4.
    By Jeff Edge
    Nov 11, 2015

    There's 1 fixed cam on pitch one, so I think that pretty much makes this a sport route by Eldo standards, right?
    By Baumer
    From: Boulder, CO
    Oct 4, 2016

    The jug that gets you onto the arete on P1 is starting to flex a bit. Might go tomorrow or last another 100 years. Will likely be significantly harder without it (9+?).
    By Adam Fleming
    From: Moab, Utah
    Oct 18, 2016

    Getting into P2 felt like the crux for me and my partner. It's short but tricky and kind of heady coming off the ledge. P4 was cruiser with sinker jams. Link P2 (short) and P3 (easy with not much pro in sections). Link P4 (money) and P5 ( to the top.
    By Tzilla Rapdrilla
    Nov 3, 2016

    This climb should be renamed The Camalot Graveyard, there are now 5 stuck #3s on the 4th pitch.
    By Gregger Man
    From: Broomfield, CO
    Nov 5, 2016

    I cleaned up a couple cams off the route today. I got a first generation green Camalot off the first pitch and one of the five #3s on the last pitch. I had a hammer and a funkness, but the rest are going to require a hacksaw. The one I removed was the most annoying - just before the crux move. Neither cam is serviceable any longer.
    By Charles Rackson
    Aug 22, 2017

    There are currently three stuck #3 cams, but they're deep and out of the way. #2 cams are perfect for the handcrack part of the crux pitch. I placed a #0.5 and #0.3 in the layback section, above the handcrack. Two #3s and one #4 were nice to have for the wide pitch.
    By mhagny
    Aug 26, 2017

    We linked P2 + 3, and 4 + 5, which seemed a very sensible way to do it.

    P3 is runout and heady, but easy moves (5.6). You can substantially reduce the runout by carrying double #3s (I only had one).

    People think the overhang is hard on P1, because they get so focused on the crack they don't notice the jugs out the right.

    The start of P2 is burly but not more than an Eldo 5.9.

    P4 is definitely the crux, and it probably deserves the 10a, and not just because it is sustained. After the continuous handcrack ends, it gets weird, and the feet aren't so good. If you do everything perfectly, maybe it isn't any more than Eldo 9+, but I it's pumpy and not obvious what to do. I think it deserves the 10a grade.

    We downclimbed 80 - 100 ft to the South and rapped the series of trees with slings. Be careful doing the downclimb; it's only 5.3, but beware of pulling a hold off. There is some loose rock on one of the lower ledges, but you'd have to be rather careless to knock any off onto parties below. Apparently it has cleaned up a lot over the years.

    While we were downclimbing off the summit, we noticed a bolted line going up the red face, probably with anchors only 15 - 20' south from where we topped out. We couldn't see the anchors, and I am not sure how easy it is to get to them.

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